Legislative Update - 2024, Week 13



The House Special Committee on Education Reform voted to approve SS#2/SCS/SB 727 (Andrew Koenig) on April 2. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Rules Regulatory Oversight Committee on April 9. If approved by rules committees, the bill could be taken up soon by the House for debate. The Association opposes the bill.

SB 727 expands the existing tax credit voucher enacted in 2021 and authorizes the establishment of charter schools in any district in Boone County without sponsorship by the local school board. The Association recognizes that some positive provisions were added during Senate floor action but remains opposed to the bill.

The Association remains concerned that the bill moves the state in the wrong direction by expanding unaccountable charter schools into more communities without consulting the local school board while also expanding vouchers that divert resources away from students in neighborhood public schools in favor of a few students attending private institutions with little oversight or accountability.            

The Senate added increases in state funding for public schools, primarily through adjustments to the basic funding formula, along with a number of provisions from other bills filed this session. The revised fiscal note for the perfected bill estimates an increase in state costs of $467 million when fully implemented. The Association notes that state revenues may be insufficient to sustain these proposed increases along with the formula increases already calculated for the next two fiscal years due to MSIP 6 changes. The remaining tax cuts already enacted in law will further reduce revenues as they are triggered into effect.




The House will hold a technical session on April 8, allowing interested members to experience the total solar eclipse that day. The Senate is scheduled to convene in full session that day. The legislature has six weeks remaining before the session concludes on May 17. Only five weeks remain to complete action on the state budget by May 10.


The House gave final approval to the various state budget bills for the next fiscal year on April 4. The budget bills now proceed to the Senate for its consideration. Only five weeks remain until the budget must be completed, so the time for budget conference could be very limited, and the final budget is likely to resemble the Senate version in many areas.

The full funding cost of the school formula will increase by $112 million for the next school year and by an additional $300 million for the following school year. These increases result from the recalculation of the State Adequacy Target due to MSIP 6 changes. The K-12 budget also fully funds the statutory required level of transportation funding and includes funds for Career Ladder and teacher minimum salary grants.

 The higher education budget reduces the Governor's proposed 3% increase to public institutions (both community colleges and four-year colleges) to 2%.



The House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee heard HB 1758 (Brad Pollitt) on April 3. The bill would create an educational stabilization fund. Money appropriated to this fund could be used to cover the cost of full funding of the school formula in years when actual revenues are less than the estimates on which the budget is based. The Association supports this proactive step to create a more sustainable state budget and sustained commitment to education funding.

The Senate Select Committee on Empowering Missouri Parents and Children voted to approve SB 1164 (Rusty Black), a similar bill, on April 4.




The House approved HCS/HJR 86 (John Black) on April 3. The Association opposes the joint resolution and remains concerned that the resolution will make it more difficult for Missouri citizens to bring forward and gain approval on measures of interest brought by the initiative petition process.

 HJR 86 increases the signature gathering requirement. The HJR also raises the approval requirement for those constitutional amendments to add a concurrent majority in a least a majority of Missouri's Congressional districts. The measure also includes several peripheral provisions that have been dubbed "ballot candy."  Ballot candy is a name given to bogus provisions added to trick voters into voting for the measure, such as including broadly supported policies that are already law.

The House Elections and Elected Officials Committee voted to approve a House committee substitute (HCS) version of SS#4/SJR 74 (Mary Elizabeth Coleman), a similar measure, on April 2. The HCS adds back in several ballot candy provisions, while the Senate had removed the ballot candy provisions during floor debate.



 The committee heard five bills on April 2:

 HB 2287 (Phil Christofanelli) to clarify the new structure of accountability, enrollment, participation, and finance created for full-time virtual schools in 2022 by SS/HCS/HB 1552 (Richey). The Association supports the bill.

SB 950 (Rick Brattin) to revise provisions enacted in SS/SB 775 from 2022 that prohibit providing "explicit sexual material" to students. SB 950 includes written as well visual depictions while including a reference to contemporary community standards as the basis for determining the value of the material.

SB 1057 (Nick Schroer) to modify provisions relating to youth employment and work hours.

SB 1446 (Brian Williams) to require the State Board of Education to convene a work group to develop a curriculum framework of instruction on the dehumanization of marginalized groups. The Association believes teaching current and historical truths, including wrongs done to marginalized and oppressed peoples, connects students to the past and fosters critical thinking and growth. The Association supports the bill.

SB 1447 (Brian Williams) to authorize a sales tax for early childhood educational services in St. Louis County and ensure the proceeds are used for that purpose.

The committee met later in the week and voted to approve five bills on April 4:

HB 2287 (Phil Christofanelli) to clarify the new structure of accountability, enrollment, participation, and finance created for full-time virtual schools in 2022 by SS/HCS/HB 1552 (Richey). The Association supports the bill.

SB 1203 (Mary Elizabeth Coleman) to establish provisions relating to transparency of school staff training, instructional, and curricular materials relating to diversity, equity, inclusion, race, ethnicity, sex, or bias. The Association is concerned that the bill may divert school resources from students and schools to fund the costs of compliance lawsuits. The bill anticipates the uncertainty the new requirements will cause and authorizes schools to request interpretation from the AG's office to verify whether materials are subject to the mandates of the act. 

SB 1208 (Andrew Koenig) to require that the State Board of Education shall cause its annual report to be published on the DESE website.

SB 1290 (Jill Carter) to create a grant program for the purpose of assisting school districts with providing programs in classical education.



The committee voted to approve two bills on April 3:

HCS#2/HB 2184 (Mike Haffner) to specify a detailed methodology for calculating school building performance scores based primarily on student scores on standardized tests. The bill does not provide any structure to provide support to help schools improve. The bill hearkens back to the now-abandoned "test, blame and punish" mindset of the former, federal NCLB Act. The Association opposes the bill.

HCS/HB 1663 (Tara Peters) to require written parental consent for changes to individualized education programs (IEPs).



The House gave first round approval to HCS/HB 2310 (Cameron Parker) on April 3. The bill would increase the amount of lower-division core curriculum credit hours that a student may transfer among public institutions of higher education from 42 credit hours to 60 credit hours. A transferring student who completes the 60 credit-hour block of courses at one institution shall receive academic credit toward the degree program, rather than simply receiving academic credit.



The House Special Committee on Property Tax Reform heard SS/SB 756 (Tony Luetkemeyer) on April 3. SB 756 revises the senior citizen property tax credit enacted in 2023 in SB 190. The bill clarifies that any such homestead credit starts when a county acts to adopt the optional property tax credit and is not retroactive to a prior year when a taxpayer might have otherwise become eligible based on age qualification. The bill also clarifies that a taxpayer must be 62 years or older to qualify, rather than being Social Security-eligible. Qualifying taxpayers must also not have delinquent taxes to qualify. The Senate also adopted an amendment providing that the additional value of new construction and improvements on qualified properties would be subject to taxation, but such additional taxation would then be frozen in the same manner as provided for the existing, qualified property.